Sara Plourde, NHPR

It's our annual Holiday Books Show!   Several major biographies are out, including Joseph Kennedy and Thomas Jefferson.  Also fiction fans are raving over new releases from Louise Erdrich and Gillian Flynn.  We’ll find out what the big reads might be under you Christmas Tree! 


The Mortal Sea

Nov 30, 2012

In a new book, UNH professor Jeffrey Bolster argues the North Atlantic, for all its vastness and power, is deeply vulnerable.and has suffered cycles of over fishing for centuries, with each new method of fishing causing stocks to decline.  We’ll look back at this history…and what it might teach us about restoring our oceans to health.


W. Jeffrey Bolster - UNH Professor and author of the new book "The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail""

Recently the website BoingBoing recommended a novel called The Last Policeman. It's a murder mystery with a unique twist: it's set six months before a massive asteroid is set to collide with Earth and essentially cause the end of the world.

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Part 1: Pimpin' Your Thanskgiving Faves

A.P. food writer and cookbook author J.M. Hirsch shares his tips on how to “pimp” your Thanksgiving dinner to make it impress without stress. Make your own butter in five minutes, stuff your turkey with fresh herbs, and make sure to dry your potatoes before you mash them. And as far as salad? Forget it. Thanksgiving comes but once a year, so splurge.

Part 2: A Vegan Thanksgiving???/Chocolate... Yum

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In 2002, Concord Monitor writer Mike Pride received a letter in the mail mentioning two pieces of authentic Civil War correspondence. A Civil War buff since he was a teenager, Mike soon discovered that New Hampshire was teeming with historic accounts of the soldiers and families that served in the Union Army. 

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A country divided by a grueling campaign season has an opportunity to unite this Veteran’s day.  Remembering America’s fallen turns our minds to the long view…and to historic sacrifices beyond the politics-of-the-moment.

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The runaway success of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey has exposed some of America’s other sexual impulses. The trilogy has sold tens of millions of copies by appealing to readers of so-called “mommy porn”.

As senior legal analyst for CNN, staff writer for the New Yorker, and the author of The Nine, Jeffrey Toobin knows more than a few things about and more than a few people inside the United States Supreme Court.

Gross America By Richard Faulk

Most everybody knows our country’s diverse landmarks and attractions – the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, Disneyland – but not everybody knows about the Spam Museum in Austin Texas... or Leila’s Hair Museum in MissouriRichard Faulk is a freelance writer and editor.

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Jeffrey Alford is an adventurous sort. He left his Wyoming home in the late 1970's with very little money and began traveling in Asia. He funded his travels by smuggling gold and hawking jewelry before meeting another restless spirit named Naomi Duguid on a Tibetan rooftop in 1985. The two vagabonds got married, had two sons, and turned their love of Asia and its foods into a career of travel, writing and photography.

David Murray

Today, prize-winning author Salman Rushdie enjoys a life in the public eye and a literary career rife with accolades, using his work to examine the cultural connection - and disconnection -  between East and West and the history and experiences of Asian diaspora, all through the lens of magical realism.

Circumstances have not always been that way.

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It’s not often that we stumbled across a story like the one we found in the latest edition of one of our favorite magazines, Mental Floss. It’s a profile of Alexandra Horowitz, who earned her PH.D. in cognitive science and teaches psychology at Barnard College.

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Author, essayist, and staff writer for The New Yorker Susan Orlean takes vivid snapshots of people who live way off the beaten path.

Once Upon A Midnight Dreary...

Oct 11, 2012
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Here is Sean Hurley's unabridged reading of "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe. Enjoy!

We asked a variety of people, including Laura Knoy, Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman, and some adorable kids whether they think Edgar Allan Poe's work still stands up as "scary." Here's the full version of what they had to say about that...

The Last Days of Poe/The Raven

Oct 11, 2012
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The last days of Edgar Allan Poe’s life are shrouded in mystery, much like his own work. And to arrive at those last fateful days, you must go back in Poe’s life to set the scene.  He was an orphan, adopted by the Allan family. He grew up well educated and well off, but once he left home for college, his relationship with his foster father grew tumultuous and he was – as they say - cut off.  Poe also had a taste for alcohol and women… and could never seem to balance the two. 

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Adrian Zuniga is creator and MC of the literary death match – where the stage becomes an arena, author readings are battles, and the warring wordsmiths are judged by a panel of peers.  Adrian has held literary death matches all over the country and on Friday night, the games begin at the Brattleboro book festival

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Producer's note: Unfortunately, technical difficulties on Tom's end prevented him from being able to join us for this segment...but as he's one of our favorite writers, we will make every attempt to get him on the program soon! /RL

1493 (Rebroadcast)

Oct 8, 2012

In a new book, author Charles Mann explores what happened in the years after Columbus’s famed voyage to the Americas. He says it altered everything: sparking a new era of globalization and not just in commerce: but radical changes in crops, cultures, and politics. We’ll talk with Mann about this expansive look at this new era and how the world changed after Columbus.


  • Charles C. Mann - Author of 1493:Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

Crazy Love

Sep 24, 2012
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Pop singer Rihanna made news recently when she confessed to Oprah Winfrey her sympathy for ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, who beat her up on the eve of the Grammy Awards in 2009. Rihanna’s tears for her abuser had many domestic violence advocates up in arms, and many of the rest of us scratching our heads. Here to give her take on the complex and often baffling emotional life of domestic abuse victims is Leslie Morgan Steiner.

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Think the right has cornered the market on denying science? No way, says Alex Berezow. He has a Ph.D. in microbiology and is co-author of the book Science Left Behind: Feel Good Falacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left.

An inside look at the war in Afghanistan. Recently, an increasing number of American troops have died at the hands of their Afghan counterparts, raising questions about American efforts there. But these incidents don’t come as a surprise to award-winning Washington Post journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who spent two years covering the war in Afghanistan. He's written a book on the conflict -- Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan.

In a new book, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores how we reach different moral judgments about the same issue. Haidt says we join groups to reinforce these judgments, and this "groupishness" contributed to the survival of our species, but it has also been cause for fierce divisiveness. Haidt says there’s another option: mutual understanding and respect.

Related links: to learn more about the book

Fake Science 101

Aug 30, 2012
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Science is one of those topics it seems you either get or you don’t. If you fall in the latter category, you might have wished at some point – maybe during a high school physics test – that you could just make up the answers and get credit for being clever.   Well, our next guest makes his living doing exactly that. Phil Edwards is the author behind the Fake Science blog, and a new sort of textbook called Fake Science 101.

Groove Interrupted

Aug 30, 2012
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As Hurricane Isaac continues to creep over the Gulf Coast and cause massive flooding, we can’t help but think of Katrina, and the devastation that storm left in her wake. Images this week of weary Louisiana residents make it difficult to remember the hopeful, yet not always easy rebirth of New Orleans after that storm.

Chris Matthews is best known for his opinionated and combative style on his MSNBC program, "Hardball with Chris Matthews."

What's lesser known is that he's a former print journalist, was a long-time aide to Tip O'Neill, and that he grew up in an Irish Catholic family...of Republicans. All this played no small part in sewing the seeds of his admiration for a man he'd later write two books about, John F. Kennedy.

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We talk with Pulitzer Prize winning author Edward Humes about his new book, Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash. Americans are at the top of the heap for producing waste: over 100 tons per person in a lifetime.

Humes explores why we make so much garbage, the environmental and economic impact of trash…and why he believes this is a problem ordinary people can fix.

The Science of Sleep

Aug 16, 2012

It take up more time in our lives than almost any other activity, yet science still knows very little about sleep or how it affects us.

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Part 1:

The Blackout Boom

David J. Murray,

Chris Cleave is a columnist for the UK's Guardian newspaper and author of Incendiary and Little Bee.